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 Signifigance Of Putting it Together

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flyingS



Posts: 51
Join date: 2010-10-02
Location: Nebraska Sandhills

PostSubject: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun 21 Nov 2010, 12:57 pm

Just was thinking about a grazing system I designed for a customer this summer and the results. I will give you an overview of the ranch. Their were 4 herds, 2 of which were owned pairs and 2 were take in cattle. The ranch herds were seperated, ages 2 and 3 ran in one herd the mature cows were all ran together. One set of take in cows were dry re-breeds and one was a mix of pairs mainly heifers. I went to the ranch and evaluated pastures in Oct. The take in cattle were stocked at similar rates and the ranch cattle were stocked similar to each other but at a lower rate than the take in cattle. To get to the point, I observed that grazing management is of no benefit if you can not manage the ranch as a whole. This is not really anything new, except I was suprised at the difference in results. Comparing the 2 ranch herds the heifers out performed the mature cows significantly. They weaned calves that weighed with in a pound of what the cows calves did and they had far more grass left on their rotation. Some will argue that the difference in the grass is the size of the cows, I will remind them that the heifers are still trying to mature and had just as big of calves at their side. The man taking care of the younger cows did a better job in my opinion of managing the whole while the man taking care of the mature cows was forever playing catch up. There wasn't much management put into the take in cattle except for moving them between pastures, which was just a few times throughout the summer. The take in cattle were stalked on 8 acres less than the other 2 herds and still had more grass than the mature ranch cows. Water is obviously the largest factor in management, just because there is other water sources in a pasture doesn't mean that they have enough water if one tank is empty. Secondly, once a set of cows is discontent, if you do not do something to satisfy those cows they will be discontent for the rest of the summer. Sometimes you have to throw convenience out the window and get priorities straight. Doing both is not always easy and may be very time consuming, although if you take time to do things right the first time you do not have to spend the time playing catch up for the rest of the summer. Just some thoughts. Fire away.
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PatB



Posts: 824
Join date: 2010-09-25
Age: 50
Location: Turner, Maine

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun 21 Nov 2010, 1:47 pm

Is there a reason the heifers and cows were not run as one herd? Could the take in animals be combined or were there biosecurity issues in combining the herds? I am in a far different enviroment then these cows are but I have had real good luck running one herd with more frequent moves. The combined herd would have higher animal impact and shorter grazing period per paddock similiar what the bison did back in the day. The Labor needed to take care of one combined herd should be less than takeing care of 4 herds.
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Bootheel



Posts: 1051
Join date: 2010-09-24

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun 21 Nov 2010, 1:51 pm

Pat, my guess is that water capacity, or availability would be one of the limiting factors, as Flying S made reference to in the post. Without proper water development, one cannot simply make the herds larger.
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EddieM



Posts: 948
Join date: 2010-09-24
Location: South Carolina

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun 21 Nov 2010, 3:55 pm

Quote :
Is there a reason the heifers and cows were not run as one herd?

Probably a management decision to let the younger animals develop and grow without being limited by the older animals.

Quote :
...similiar to what the bison did back in the day.


Plains buffalo or eastern woods bison? Why do folks want to manage cows like buffalos? What can't folks manage cows like, ..., well, ... COWS! Pat, you're in the east. So we need to talk about you managing your cows like eastern woods bison. You'll need woods and not pastures. You'll need to hope that lightning strikes and burns some of the woods or you can just start a fire and do it youself. There was no fertilizers, no grass seeds, no meds, no selection of individuals. If they wanted to walk straight up a hill and create a gully, so be it. If they wanted to poop in the river: it's natural. In the winter they will get thin and some will die. So, why do we always want to go back and reinvent the wheel with an application that does not fit our heritage and is not economically doable? I fully understand the efficiency of strip grazing, flash grazing or whatever term you want to use to describe the fact that they ate more and wasted less. But to create something out of nothing with this mob grazing defies gravity and logic. I think it ought to be called Fad Grazing. lol!


Last edited by EddieM on Sun 21 Nov 2010, 7:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Hilly



Posts: 495
Join date: 2010-09-24
Location: Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun 21 Nov 2010, 7:01 pm

My cows eat a fair bit more then first and second calvers, under the same management and water supply over the winter....

Just from observation the cows are experienced and very aggressive eaters...

Twice a day moves same field, same feed same water source the only reason they were separated was due to the fact the cows would not allow the younger stock to eat enough quality to support their needs.

I also found the size of the groups mattered as the larger the group the greater the impetus pirat

Were the group sizes in this example all of similar numbers?
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PatB



Posts: 824
Join date: 2010-09-25
Age: 50
Location: Turner, Maine

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun 21 Nov 2010, 7:47 pm

EddieM wrote:
Quote :
Is there a reason the heifers and cows were not run as one herd?

Probably a management decision to let the younger animals develop and grow without being limited by the older animals.

Quote :
...similiar to what the bison did back in the day.


Plains buffalo or eastern woods bison? Why do folks want to manage cows like buffalos? What can't folks manage cows like, ..., well, ... COWS! Pat, you're in the east. So we need to talk about you managing your cows like eastern woods bison. You'll need woods and not pastures. You'll need to hope that lightning strikes and burns some of the woods or you can just start a fire and do it youself. There was no fertilizers, no grass seeds, no meds, no selection of individuals. If they wanted to walk straight up a hill and create a gully, so be it. If they wanted to poop in the river: it's natural. In the winter they will get thin and some will die. So, why do we always want to go back and reinvent the wheel with an application that does not fit our heritage and is not economically doable? I fully understand the efficiency of strip grazing, flash grazing or whatever term you want to use to describe the fact that they ate more and wasted less. But to create something out of nothing with this mob grazing defies gravity and logic. I think it ought to be called Fad Grazing. lol!

We had no buffalo in my area period and dam few moose or deer until early settlers started clearing fields and cutting timber. I was not refering to manageing the cows I was refering to manageing the forage. If the landscape and forage species develop under flash grazing and long rest periods then it might produce better if managed that way.
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PatB



Posts: 824
Join date: 2010-09-25
Age: 50
Location: Turner, Maine

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun 21 Nov 2010, 7:50 pm

Bootheel wrote:
Pat, my guess is that water capacity, or availability would be one of the limiting factors, as Flying S made reference to in the post. Without proper water development, one cannot simply make the herds larger.

I could buy that. I wounder if water development might pay a pretty good divident on that ranch.
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Bootheel



Posts: 1051
Join date: 2010-09-24

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun 21 Nov 2010, 9:56 pm

Pat, you sum up my thoughts pretty well, as water development is the first step. Much misunderstanding abounds on the processes of forage management.

Eddie, I do not think there is a "something for nothing" scenario in any grazing system. Much like Registered promotion, there is a bit of hyperbole associated with new concepts of grazing management. That being said, there is nothing new about rest and rotation in forage systems. From my own observations, I think much of what is perceived as nutrient defiency in pastures, in more likely lack of proper rest or recovery periods, tied together with minimal species diversity of forages.

In the past, I used several pure stands of differing forages, ie- pure: bluestem, redtop, swithgrass, orchardgrass\ legume, fescue\legume. Now days, I prefer to see the overall landscape exhibit the same overall percentages, but evenly distributed throughout the system. On that note, it IS occuring through natural means, not mechanical or chemical.

Once upon a time, fuel and fertlizer where relatively cheap compared to labor. I no longer see that in my own accounting ledgers. Couple that with the increase in cost of the iron to burn the fuel, and also apply the fertilizer, and it further compounds the effects. Now, you and I live in a much different world than Flying S does, as his area takes considerable more area to carry a cow for the year. I do find it interesting that in our areas commercial fertilize is the rule, where as in the rangelands of the west, it is the exception. Yet, they manage to get along fairly well, and yes I realize that less rainfall and varying soil types may lead to less loss of nutrients.


Shade or lack there of, leads many of us to say it will not work here. As I was returning home this week, I was amazed at all the cows laying under their shade trees on a 40 degree day. Since those cows needed shade those 2 to 4 months of summer, I can deal with improper nutrient distrubtion, but what about the other 8 to 10 months of the year. These days I prefer to look for ways to make it work, rather than look for ways to make it not. Either way, no skin off my nose, but I like the results here.

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flyingS



Posts: 51
Join date: 2010-10-02
Location: Nebraska Sandhills

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun 21 Nov 2010, 10:10 pm

There was water there, it is just a matter of putting a pump jack on or dropping a submersible ahead of time instead of after the fact. The herd sizes were different but that should not have any effect as the plan addressed each accordingly. The difference was management. I developed the plan so it was consistent, the forage is the same, one man got things ready for cows ahead of time and one waited until there was a problem. One herd was always satisfied and content and the other was never content. The way cattle are taken care of and handled is just as important as genetics or pasture management, they all have to come together to optimize overall production. Taking the time to do the extra things will always pay if you prevent a problem, if you do not take the time and you get behind it seems like you can never get caught up. Maybe I am off base, but having the tools does not do you any good if you do not utilize them. Bottom line is that the cows pay the bills therefore they have to be a priority. I am not going to lie to anyone, I have been out of water before sometimes due to my own lack of preperation, sometimes doe to uncontrollable circumstances and sometimes just plain old lack of water and capacity. The difference is that I always got it taken care of no matter how long it took or what time it was. I have seen the difference in behavior due to lack of management compared to taking care of things, it is signifigant.
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Hilly



Posts: 495
Join date: 2010-09-24
Location: Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Signifigance Of Putting it Together   Sun 21 Nov 2010, 11:07 pm

So are you saying poor water management can cost pounds and grass and should have been moved up the priority list in this case?
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